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Refugees Find Hope on Soccer Field

Posted by Trish18 on Jan 29, 2007 1:14:52 PM



Early last summer the mayor of this small town east of Atlanta issued a decree: no more soccer in the town park.




In Clarkston, soccer means something different than in most places.

As many as half the residents are refugees from war-torn countries

around the world. Placed by resettlement agencies in a once mostly

white town, they receive 90 days of assistance from the government and

then are left to fend for themselves. Soccer is their game.





to many longtime residents, soccer is a sign of unwanted change, as

unfamiliar and threatening as the hijabs worn by the Muslim women in

town. Caught in the middle is a boys soccer

program called the Fugees, indeed

comprised of all refugees, from the most troubled corners ��� Afghanistan, Bosnia,

Burundi, Congo, Gambia, Iraq, Kosovo, Liberia, Somalia and Sudan. Some

have endured unimaginable hardship to get here: squalor in refugee

camps, separation from siblings and parents.





The Fugees, 9 to 17 years old, play on three

teams divided by age. Their story is about children with miserable

pasts trying to make good with strangers in a very different and

sometimes hostile place. But as a season with the youngest of the three

teams revealed, it is also a story about the challenges facing

resettled refugees in this country. More than 900,000 have been

admitted to the United States since 1993, and their presence seems to

bring out the best in some people and the worst in others.




Click here to read the whole story.



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